Now that I've got that bitterness out of my system for the time being, let's move on. Where were we? Oh, yeah. I'm 18, pregnant, newly married, and about ignorant as a shy-sheltered-country-girl-loosed-into-the-big-bad-world could be.
Of course, I didn't think I was ignorant. I wasn't stupid...in fact, I have always been really smart, quick to learn, enthusiastic about school, and had good grades. I was mostly bored and unchallenged at the schools I'd attended and never found any mentor-teachers like those in the movies.
But my lack of experience and my parent's unwillingness to teach me how to get along in the real world (despite their constant reminders at how unprepared I was for the real world)... arg, the bitter taste is returning....
It's like always being a seed trying to grow into something and always being told you should be a flower.
"You should be a flower, so why aren't you a flower? Jeez, you have such flower potential, and you're wasting it all."
But as soon as you begin to sprout in any way whatsoever, you're told...
"Sprouting isn't allowed...you're doing it the wrong way...you shouldn't even be trying...you call those sprouts? Why aren't you a flower already? No, you can't be a daffodil, or a tulip, or... what? a rose? are you kidding? No, if you work hard you might become a clover some day, but that's not even a pretty sort of flower and you're so lazy and irresponsible, I don't see how you're going to get there...."
"What's wrong with you? Why aren't you a flower already?"
Arg! Half-buried licorice vomit.
So it should be no surprise to anyone that I fell in love with and married the first person who ever told me (and not only said it out loud, but acted the part, as well), that what I felt and wanted was important. Who gave without any signs of tight-fistedness, jealousy, neediness, selfishness, or pettiness.
It should be a surprise, however, that in my own jealousness, neediness, selfishness and pettiness, learned at the knees of my parents, and the learned helplessness born of years of being damned no matter what I tried, I didn't completely fuck up the best thing that ever happened to me. Or that has ever happened to me in all the years since.
No, he wasn't perfect or without fault. But his childhood wounds were far smaller than mine. And since he had less baggage, he was more able to help me carry mine.
So three babies came in 5 years, then I figured that mess out and had my tubes tied. Those years were difficult and stressful, poor and sleepless, and fraught with struggling to swim in the directions I wanted to go despite the anchors tied to my feet. (And I don't mean the kids specifically, but just all the obstacles: immaturity, ignorance, woundedness, lack of resources or help, etc.)
I was determined, however, that nothing my children could ever do would cause me to put them out. I was determined not to be secretive, but to always be honest with them, not to limit their choices beyond the bare minimum necessary for safety, and that the 5 of us would always work as a team.
And despite the obstacles, and the natural conflicts that arise with 5 individual living together for 20+ years through thick and thin, my husband and I were pretty successful. No one fell to drugs, jail, crime, or runnoft to escape us. My husband and I both finished our college degrees and all three of the children are college educated.
Be a better parent than my parents were: check. Been there, done that, had fun, glad it's done. Now into Operation Grandchild. Being a better grandparent will be a no-brainer.... I just have to be there. I've already surpassed the time-invested bar my own parents set with my children. Plus, I'm enjoying it, so I'm light-years ahead.